After the let-down that was the season premiere last week, Sherlock seems to have finally taken baby steps in the right direction with The Lying Detective. But all you fans may not put the brickbats away just yet because I still have a long list of problems with the episode.
However, to appease the crowds, I shall begin with the things the show got right this time: The red herrings and the big twist.
For any detective mystery to be called perfect, it need not only keep the reader or viewer from getting to the right answer by keeping the clues hidden but also launching strong red herrings in his way to throw him off the scent. In this episode, we were given hints that there was indeed no one with Sherlock when he seemed to be talking to Faith, or Euros as we later found out. We kept track of all these clues and thought ourselves so brilliant for not falling into Moffat’s trap. However, it turned out that not falling in the trap was the trap.
Sherlock and we, find out at the end of the episode that there was indeed a woman with him and all the clues we had been given were only to fool us. It’s a trick as old as the trade but to see it being done so well and convincingly always deserves appreciation. Personally, I even thought to myself that the woman looks too much like the one John cheated on Mary with but even I suppressed the thought seeing how obvious the clues were. But it was a mistake, Sherlock is anything but obvious.
The big reveal was again masterfully executed, seeing how while I did feel that Faith looked like E, I couldn’t see her in John’s therapist at all. Her face was hidden in shadows and even when it wasn’t, the difference was too harsh to register with our feeble minds. But one does wonder was it really that tough for John to recognise the woman he text-cheated on his wife with? For Sherlock to not recognise his own sister after spending an entire night with her? Maybe the next episode will shed some light.
These questions do not even make the tip of the iceberg of questions that I have regarding E. How did she know about Culverton Smith being a serial killer? How did she get Faith’s note? Why did Culverton not destroy it? How did she know Mary would die and Sherlock will need to make things OK with John? Tweet to me for more.
Last week, my biggest problem with the episode was how mercilessly Mary was cut out from the narrative. This week, they brought her back and it is just as disrespectful as her departure was. Amanda Abbington may have been in almost all scenes involving John but Mary was not. The ghost of Mary was used so conveniently to absolve John of all his sins with just a smile and an understanding nod. Now that ‘Mary’ has forgiven John, you, dear viewer, should too.
Toby Jones delivers an amazing performance as the evil millionaire with a creepy laugh. He even reminds you ever so slightly of a certain to-be president of a world superpower or that could be just me. While Jones did make us hate every inch of him every time he was on screen, he will forever be the serial killer who was defeated by a walking stick with a recording device.
There is only one episode left to season-end (and possibly, series-end) and it would crush me no end to watch the series I have loved ever so much to go out with absolutely no fireworks. Hopefully, these two episodes were the real red herrings! Hopefully, the real deal is still ahead of us.
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